North Park University today named Michael C. Conway head football coach.
Conway, a native of Pittsburgh, comes to North Park after successful coaching stints as both an assistant and head coach for NCCAA, NAIA and NCAA Division I, II, and III programs. Most recently, he has been coaching at California University of Pennsylvania.
Conway succeeds Scott Pethtel, who served as head coach for seven seasons before resigning at the end of the 2012 season.
“I am honored and excited to become the head football coach at North Park University,” Conway said. “The vision and leadership of the president and administration allowed us to have clarity in our decision to become part of North Park. My family and I are excited to join the North Park community and return to the Chicago area. We will work diligently to build the Vikings into a winning program.”
“Mike Conway is a proven ‘turn around’ coach and a consistent winner at three levels of intercollegiate football,” North Park Director of Athletics Dr. Jack Surridge said. “His previous success as a head coach and his deep resonance with the North Park mission give us confidence in his ability to lead the Viking football program. We are very excited that he and his family are joining us.”
Conway has served as the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at California University of Pennsylvania, an NCAA Division II institution, for the last 11 seasons. There, he helped guide the Vulcans to a 97-36 record, including five-straight playoff appearances since the 2007 season. The Vulcans have also earned three-straight Division II Regional Championships and produced the No.1-ranked defense in 2007 under Conway’s leadership. In addition, Conway has coached three American Football Coaches Association All-Americans and two defensive backs that have continued their athletic careers into the National Football League.
Prior to coaching at California University, Conway served as the associate head coach and defensive and special teams coordinator at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., in 2000. As the associate head coach he was named the NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year and developed defenses ranked in the top three in all of NAIA during the 2000 season.
Conway’s head coaching experience began at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., his alma mater, where he led the Tigers to a 31-14 record over a four-year period. As the head coach and offensive line coach, Conway turned the Tigers’ program around as he led them to a Victory Bowl championship in 1997 and a Mid-States Football Association Co-Championship in 1999. Conway was named the NCCAA (National Christian Colleges Athletic Association) Coach of the Year for the 1998 season and the Tigers finished as an NAIA National Championship finalist.
His coaching career also includes stops as a defensive coordinator at Washington & Jefferson College, Washington, Pa., as well as an assistant coach of defensive ends at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and defensive line coach at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Ark. As the defensive coordinator for seven years at W&J, Conway led the Presidents to a 98-8-1 record and to a pair of appearances in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in 1992 and 1994 as well as nine appearances in the NCAA Division III playoffs. His defenses ranked No. 1 in all of Division III in 1991, 1992, and 1994, and he coached three AFCA All-Americans during his tenure.
Conway’s playing career was fruitful as well. As a member of the Tigers’ offensive line, he was twice selected as an All-American and went on to play professionally in the CFL, USFL, and the NFL before a back injury abruptly ended his career.
Conway earned his undergraduate degree in sociology and communication from Olivet Nazarene and a master’s degree in health education from Penn State University. He and his wife, Beth Ann, have two sons, Dakota and T.D.